Pantry Plan

2/5 Update – I shopped last night and was a bit disappointed. I wanted to spend $100 or less and ended up spending $115. But I did not add to my pantry stash. I only purchased items that I needed to complete our weekly menu, dairy, produce, and of course some potato chips!

Peggy has inspired me to use my pantry as a tool for meeting my grocery budget goal for this month. Normally I could feed my family and probably my neighbors on what is stocked in my pantry, but since I just moved, my pantry is not too full. At first glance I have several cans of soup, refried beans, three cans of tuna, five jars of spaghetti sauce, several boxes of pasta, two boxes of mac and cheese, two boxes of taco shells, four jars of peanut butter, one box of graham crackers, and lots of oats, rice, millet, and grain. It will be hard to pass up deals at the store this month, but I do want to clear out my pantry and start stockpiling in a more organized way. I will try and focus my shopping on produce, dairy and meat for the month of February and plan my meals around the food already in my house. I just hope we don’t get sick of eating spaghetti and oatmeal!

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Class of 2020

Liamlifevest

This is a picture of the kindergarten class at our homeschool. I love this age because the work is easy and they don’t get frustrated. I take the relaxed approach to kindergarten with our kids. We don’t “do” school every day and some days we do extra. Today my son wanted to complete eight lessons in one of his workbooks so he did. Yesterday he completed two math lessons and today we only finished half of one. School with my little ones is about me, being purposeful with the time that I have with them, one on one, no distractions. It is about stories and coloring books, bright colored flash cards and lots of manipulatives. It is about having fun with mom, singing songs, making up motions to bible verses, and playing charades. Book reports, chapter reviews and tests will come soon enough. For now I am going to enjoy my time with the Class of 2020.

Our Kindergarten Curriculum

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Personal Finance Books that Influenced Me

When my husband I decided to become debt free, one of the first things I did was check out every personal finance, frugal living, and get out of debt book I could find at our library. Financial books and the bible were the only books I read that summer. There were many great books out there, and a few really bad ones. I did find that in most books I didn’t agree with every idea the authors were promoting, but I could glean something from almost every book.

Here is a list of the books I found particularly helpful:

The best thing about it was that it didn’t cost me a penny.

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Second Semester

Tomorrow marks the end of our second homeschool semester. This would not be significant except for the fact that our school year began in July! We have had a number of hiccups in our school year, including our second state-to-state move in a year. I am actually amazed that we have managed to complete two semesters. I have avoided the winter homeschool blues, if only because of the incredible pressure to complete this semester.

This weekend I will work on report cards, a first for me, and try not to have a biased view of my children. In eight years of homeschooling I have never kept grades for our kids. I just didn’t feel that grades accurately reflected what our kids were learning. I have one child that could score an “A” on any multiple-choice test even if he didn’t understand the material; he is just a good guesser. I have another that would have trouble scoring well on any test that wasn’t math because he has a slew of learning disabilities.

I believe grades aren’t important, it’s their understanding of the material that matters. Now we live in a state with strict homeschool laws and grades are required, so I will grudgingly comply while dreaming of the day that we move again and regain some of our homeschool freedom.

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Debt Free Living ~ Our Path to Freedom

A little over a year ago we had some friends over after church. We talked about the usual stuff, kids, church, homeschool, and then the conversation turned to finances. They were getting rid of all their debt an idea they got from reading Dave Ramsey. It sounded a little radical for us, I mean no credit cards, no car payments, no mortgage… that seemed crazy.

We listened politely as they told us what they were doing to reduce their debt and increase their income. We really felt we were doing financially okay. I mean the only debt we had was a car payment and some student loans. We used credit cards, but we always paid them off every month, plus we earned cash back. Some years it was a few hundred dollars. Of course we didn’t have any money saved, and didn’t really own anything. Our net worth was probably $1000.

We moved to another state and last summer, while walking with a neighbor, she mentioned something about this guy Dave Ramsey and how they were trying to use his plan to get ahead. After hearing her talk about him I figured I needed to find out more about this guy. I checked out The Total Money Makeover from the library, and read it in two days. Then I asked my husband to read it. He read it and we were sold.

Over the next month, we devised a plan to pay off the student loans (the car had been paid off earlier in the year) and start building our emergency fund. We both took our credit cards out of our wallets and stopped using them completely. We used cash for groceries, entertainment, household purchases, and our debit card for gas and any online purchases.

In four months we managed to pay off almost $10,000 in student loans and shouted “We’re Debt FREE!” on the Dave Ramsey Show.

It was exciting. This month we completed baby step three by fully funding our emergency fund. In about six months we have completely turned our finances around! It is an amazing feeling to write our budget and not owe money for things purchased in our past.

Over the past few months we have learned to hate debt, and love the freedom that comes with not owing money to anyone. Freedom from debt has changed our lives.

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My CVS Trip

Last night my husband and I made a late night trip to CVS. I am new to this whole saving money at CVS thing, but I wanted to try it out. This is what I purchased

3 packs of Huggies diapers – $2/1 coupon for each

4 jars of skippy peanut butter – $1/2 coupon for each

4 jars of Ragu- $0.55/2 coupon for each

2 packs of Energizer batteries -$1/1 coupon for each

1 Arm and Hammer toothpaste- $1/1 coupon for each

1 Cottenelle toilet paper – no coupon for this one but we were out of tp!

My total bill was $63.40

After coupons and Extra Bucks I paid $31.40 out of pocket. I realize that is high for those who go and manage to spend $2, but I was able to earn $17 in Extra Bucks for my next trip to the store. Plus, my husband and I are having a great time planning our trip and scouting deals. I am also totally excited because last night we found out that CVS accepts commissary coupons! I am hoping that shopping at CVS will help me meet my February grocery goal.

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